Hicks scored four of the Patriots’ five touchdowns in a 35-21 win over Broadneck, leaving his mark on every facet of the game. Pressed into action by injuries at running back, he rushed for 149 yards and three touchdowns. He also forced a fumble on special teams, in addition to his usual duties at free safety.
Hicks has received interest from a handful of Football Bowl Subdivision schools. Old Mill Coach Chad McCormick called him a “scholarship-type football player.”
“He just has a knack for making very big plays,” McCormick said. “Last year he was always around the football — a big interception or a big return here or there — and then we’ve got him rushing the ball a little bit.”
Hicks got sporadic carries last season and said that he feels comfortable running the ball, but he had never been the featured back before Friday night. McCormick had concerns about overworking one of his best defensive players, but Hicks proved his durability.
“He really worked very hard in the weight room in the offseason,” McCormick said. “He’s just in great physical condition. He played almost the entire game, both ways.”
Hicks also was a gunner on punt coverage, where he made what might have been the most important play of the game.
After Broadneck (0-1) had blocked a punt and returned it for a touchdown to take a 14-0 lead, the Patriots (1-0) went three-and-out and were forced to punt again. Hicks whisked downfield and noticed that the returner wasn’t holding the ball correctly. In one fluid motion, he punched the ball with his left hand, caught it with his right and ran 33 yards for the touchdown.
“I’ve been practicing with strip drills for years, so I just know some angles to get the ball out,” Hicks said. “The momentum shifted quickly after that. It was like a snowball effect, kind of.”
The Patriots hope that their first win will have a similar effect on the rest of their season. Old Mill plays three of the county’s top teams — Arundel, Meade and South River — in the next three weeks, beginning with a showdown against the Wildcats on Thursday.
McCormick said that Hicks, who is primarily a defensive player, will continue to get carries moving forward.
“I don’t mind,” Hicks said. “As long as I’m on the field, that’s okay with me.”